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Staff development is a very effective way o f engaging in a mutual process o f change for staff, pupils and management. It provides the space to consider what is going on, what the goals are and who holds what opinions and views. It is a time of sharing, considering, discussion, argument and even conflict. During this time, people have the opportunity to make an assessment of the skills they feel they have and the skills and knowledge they feel they need to improve and practise. It is important that people do not feel deskilled by new initiatives or changes, all of which are healthy and productive if organised and handled well. It is usually better for an outside consultant to work through some issues and to provide an outside view for the staff. Schools can also use their own internal resources and expertise. For example,

physiotherapists can show teachers how to position pupils and explain how much to expect of them in terms of physical effort and stamina. Teachers can appraise physiotherapists of the school’s PE curriculum and together they can work out ways of integrating their effort to the benefit of pupils. Speech therapists may be able to help with alternative and augmentative communication and work with teachers on pupils’ progress within the English curriculum or on the new literacy initiatives. It is important that learning support or classroom assistants are involved in this kind of consultation and discussion to increase understanding of the pupil’s needs and abilities.